US Secretary of State John Kerry met with President Xi Jinping yesterday during his fifth trip to Asia since assuming office, and apparently the ‘tone was excellent’ despite mounting tensions between Beijing and Washington regarding security alliances with Japan.
Xi told Kerry to pass along the word to US President Barack Obama that “China is firmly committed to building a new model of the China-US relationship together with the US side”, SCMP relayed.
“We will continue to enhance dialogue, boost mutual trust and co-operation and properly handle differences in the new year so as to forge ahead with the lasting and healthy development of ties,” he said.
Kerry, arriving in Beijing from Seoul, had a tough diplomatic mission. On one hand he was trying to prod Beijing to bring North Korea back to nuclear disarmament talks, but he also wants China to scale down its assertiveness over territorial disputes with its neighbours, particularly Japan and the Philippines.
But he was also upbeat after meetings with his hosts, saying the talks were constructive and the “tone was excellent”. “There were some differences, but they’re managed and handled, exactly as it should be,” he said.
State-run Xinhua News Agency on Friday called for the US to pressure Tokyo into ceasing its “provocative moves” or risk potential regional conflicts.
“The United States has to know that, while Beijing has always been trying to address territorial brawls with some neighbouring countries through peaceful means, it will not hesitate to take steps to secure its key national security interests according to China’s sovereign rights,” the blatantly anti-Japanese editorial read.
On North Korea, Kerry said China “could not have made it more clear” that denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula must occur, and had promised to take “additional steps” against Pyongyang if it was not serious about the initiative.
[…]But signs of mistrust between the two powers remain. [Foreign Minister Wang Yi] called on Washington to respect China’s sovereignty and not take sides in maritime disputes. And Kerry reiterated the US stance that China’s air defence identification zone challenged regional stability.